Data is everywhere — big data, bad data, industry-changing data, data you didn’t know existed — and it all plays a major role in driving how valuable and relevant sales and marketing efforts are. With so much access to innovative technologies that help bring data all around us, it’s sometimes a trial-and-error process for marketers who use data to make more strategic business decisions. And today’s marketing leaders such as CMOs and their marketing teams heavily rely on business analytics that’s efficient and transparent. Here’s what you need to know about the data metrics your CMO actually cares about.

What drives your CMO

First, it’s important to recognize the obvious — CMOs are all about precision when it comes to knowing where marketing dollars are going and how they are coming back in. And that’s all about uncovering what sales and marketing efforts are working and not working. In such a precision-driven role of a CMO, the responsibility and accountability that it comes with are always pushing CMOs to reinvent how they can stay competitive and valuable. But, CMOs are realizing that data and analytics are much more than job justification and finding out how to increase return on investment. Data is helping bring departments together, creating more efficient sales and marketing teams, and creating more high-growth companies. In a CMO’s perfect world, sales and marketing alignment and strategic business results are all harmoniously synced, backed, and driven by data. But, only about 32% of CMOs initiate collaborative efforts across all departments and functions according to eMarketer.

Data is irrelevant without context

Now, it’s great to have all the data you could ever dream of or need when it comes to pulling reports and monitoring campaign performance. Having extensive metrics helps bring deep insights, right? Not always. Data can only take you so far if there is no relevant context to tie the data to your sales and marketing efforts — data alone is just data, but data with context can push companies forward. Instead of using the way your team analyzes data to drive business strategy, let your company’s business strategy drive how you analyze and interpret data. Data is the how that makes every (sales and marketing) thing possible. But it doesn’t always come with clear-cut directions for making strategic business decisions. Using data with the right context is a long-term objective and strategy that is full of many variables. According to Forbes, only 40% of marketers report having the right quantitative tools needed to demonstrate the impact of marketing spend on company performance and expect increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning by 60% over the next three years.

When interpreting data, your monitoring tools and practices such as multi-channel and cross-channel tracking or optimization and predictive analytics, just to name a few, need to consider the context of data patterns and how it relates to your short-, mid-, and long-term business goals:

  1. Establish assumptions, unknowns, and data buckets or categories
  2. Decide what the numbers should represent and how to interpret them
  3. Ask relevant questions that can translate into solving real-world decisions and actions
  4. Place more scrutiny on data outliers
  5. Understand that there could be complex emotions and intentions attached to the human interactions behind the data and numbers
  6. Filter interpretations through a holistic lens, some takeaways can be about ethics and lessons

Metrics CMOs really care about

Ultimately, a CMO needs to deliver marketing results that the CFO can justify and understand while being aligned with the needs and goals of the CEO. Marketing metrics can be limitless so it’s important to focus on what provides the highest value and impact. Depending on your company’s business model and strategic, financial, and operational goals, choose metrics that fit your brand’s vision or that can help shift your company toward its vision goals. Review the following categories and determine what framework is best for your CMO dashboard — there isn’t a cookie-cutter recipe but its structure should cover a comprehensive, big picture view of marketing effectiveness and facilitate strategic decisions:

  • Content-focused metrics: Understand the how, what, and why of your customers’ responses to content during each stage of the buyer’s journey. These metrics include web visit rate which helps determine volume per online format to actions, lead rate and volume, and customer rate and volume.
  • Scaling metrics: Keep these metrics in mind for determining how to scale effectively and understanding how and why some content and campaigns may have maximum or diminishing returns. Metrics can include funnel report data which can help you spot weak conversion areas or bottlenecks and bottom line return on investment (ROI).
  • Channel metrics: Provides information about engagement conversions and metrics include win/loss rate, lead-to-customer conversion rate and point of conversion, MQL to SQL ratio, share of shelf, and pipeline analysis.
  • Customer value metrics: Relates to acquiring, keeping, and growing the value of customers. Metrics include customer lifetime value (CLV), retention and churn rates, rate of profitable customer growth, net new deals, customer acquisition cost (CAC), average revenue per customer, and more.
  • Cash flow metrics: Focuses on marketing spend efficiencies such as budget performance, promotion performance, and program and campaign performance.
  • Competitive metrics and market value index: Gain insight into how your company stands up against competitors in your industry. Metrics include customer acquisition rate, market share, growth rate, and also win/loss rates.
  • Product and service innovation and portfolio metrics: Assess whether your company is sustainable or has room for growth. Metrics used are adoption rate, time-to-market and revenue for new products or services, unit growth rate, price premiums, margins, average trial rates, and average selling price.

CMOs bridge the gap between creating exceptional customer experiences and driving strategic revenue growth strategies. The catch — the road to success isn’t always easy. There’s a science behind uncovering key business insights and companies that prioritize data-driven teams and strategies are strengthening marketing campaigns, converting more customers, and reaping greater ROI. Working with partners who have the knowledge of data technology and data analysis will help your company remain relevant and competitive and consulting an outside team like Unreal Digital Group can help you achieve this.

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about building more efficient and high-performing sales and marketing ops teams. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook so you don’t miss out on additional strategies and insights.